STIGMATIZATION OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND HELP-SEEKING BEHAVIOR AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN TURKEY
Stigmatization of mental illness refers to great disapproval for people suffering from mental illnesses which may lead to marginalization and exclusion from society (Avdibegović–Hasanović, 2017: 931). Even though people suffering from mental illnesses are the primary target of stigmatization, effects of stigmatization of mental illness cannot be limited to the people suffering from those illnesses (Mazumder-Thompson-Hodgetts, 2019). Prevalence of mental disorders vary between 9.6-27.8% in adult population (Moffitt et al., 2010: 899; & Corrigan, 2018:587). Most common conditions for young adults include major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (Kessler et al., 2005: 5). Latest report of World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that approximately 25% of global population has suffered from at least one psychiatric condition in their lifetime (Grisales-Romero, et al., 2020:29). However, people in need for psychiatric care either do not seek for care or do not complete their treatment plan suggested by medical professionals (Corrigan et al., 2001:187). Latest estimations indicate that at least 60% of patients suffering from mental illnesses do not receive adequate treatment which is mostly attributable to stigmatization of mental illnesses (WHO, 2001).
Stigmatization of mental illnesses vary with race, nationality, educational status and age of the focus group. Studies in Turkish population revealed that female participants with younger age or higher socioeconomic status exhibited higher stigmatization towards mental conditions (Gur & Kucuk, 2016: e22267). Studies investigating mental health stigma among college students revealed higher rates among Japanese college students compared to their American peers (Masuda et al. 2009:178). Utilization of mental health services is inversely correlated with the degree of stigma in the society as shown by lower utilization of mental health services by Asian Americans, a society with higher stigmatization rates, compared to Caucasians (Loya et al. 2010: 484). Despite high rates of psychiatric disorders during young adulthood and growing focus over stigmatization, studies on this field are limited. Turkey has a relatively young population with approximately 39% under age 25 according to latest estimates compared to most western countries (Coşkun et al. 2017: 323).
In this study, our aim is to investigate the self-reported stigmatization of mental conditions and help-seeking behavior regarding psychiatric conditions among young college students in Turkey, and its correlates.
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